The leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Councillor Rob Jones, has thanked everyone who attended the public meeting this week to discuss the longstanding landslides issue affecting the Pantteg area of Ystalyfera.
Around 150 people were at Monday night’s event in Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera to hear Matthew Eynon of Earth Science Partnership (ESP), the council’s geological consultants, explain details of an updated risk and hazard map for the area.
Created using hi-tech surveying and engineering equipment including laser scanners mounted in aerial drones, the map now gives a more precise understanding of where instability might occur in the future and the likely impact on roads and properties.
Consultants’ reports have stated there is no viable engineering solution to the landslides which have been happening since at least the 1890s.
At the public meeting, Councillor Rob Jones said: “I want to thank everyone who attended Monday’s public meeting and we will continue working in co-operation with this community which is very much part of the Neath Port Talbot community.”
Inspections programme to commence
The updated risk and hazard map places a number of homes in very high and high risk areas (red and pink zones on the updated map) so Neath Port Talbot Council is now reminding people with property in these two zones to contact the Council so it can carry out a programme of inspections.
As explained at the public meeting, this will enable the Council to carry out a programme of property inspections within the landslip area. This work will involve visual examination of the interior and exterior of properties under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
The HHSRS is a risk-based evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings.
The system was introduced by the Government under the Housing Act 2004 and applies to residential properties in England and Wales.
Those with properties in the pink or red zones can contact the Council either through the dedicated helpline (01639 686288) or email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
The helpline is answered during office hours (8.30am – 5.00pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am – 4.30 pm Friday). An answer machine will pick up any calls received outside of those hours. Messages will be responded to within 24 hours during the working week.
Cyfyng Road appeals
Questions were asked at the public meeting about appeals by four people challenging Neath Port Talbot Council’s decision to evacuate residents from houses in Cyfyng Road, Pantteg, following landslides.
The meeting was informed the appeals have been adjourned by the Cardiff based Residential Property Tribunal until March 1 this year.
The four are challenging Neath Port Talbot Council’s decision to impose Emergency Prohibition Orders (EPOs) on three properties in August 2017.
After initially taking evidence at a Cardiff hotel on December 18 last year, the tribunal decided more time was needed to hear all the evidence and it was the decision of the tribunal (not the Council) to adjourn until March.
The authority imposed the EPOs after being advised by Earth Science Partnership experts there was “an immediate danger to life” concerning a terrace of properties in Cyfyng Road – including the properties in which the appellants lived.
Most of those served with the EPOs in August 2017 have now been relocated.